Abu Hamza Extradition to The United States of America

The term "extradition" has been in news in more than one instance. Extradition is the legal term attributed to international cooperation among countries to capture people who violate laws of one country and flee to another for shelter or as a matter of right (eg.- citizenship). the increase in such practices has lead to organized manner of extradition, mainly regulated by 'extradition treaties' signed by participating nations. One such treaty was signed in 2003 by UK and US (the treaty can be accessed at: http://www.statewatch.org/news/2003/jul/UK_USA_extradition.pdf).


The recent decision by Queen's Bench (U.K.) of Abu Hamza v. Secretary of State for the Home Department (the judgment is accessible at: http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/abu-hamza-others-judgment-05102012.pdf), has brought forth the loopholes in this Act which can be used to delay the process. The five claimants in this suit were the subject of extradition requested by the US for terrorism related offences. First extradition, out of these five, was requested fourteen years ago and the last eight years ago.


United States requested the extradition of Abu Hamza on May 21st, 2004. It is claimed that he was a part of the conspiracy to take hostages in the Yemen, to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon and to give other support to terrorists. After being arrested on August 5th, 2004, he served seven years imprisonment following his conviction in the United Kingdom. After the conviction, the extradition proceedings started duly. Thereafter, his extradition was approved bySecretary of State in February 2008. 


Further appeals were made by the five claimants complaining of Human Rights violation, unfit mental condition, other health conditions, etc. This matter was finally decided on October 5th, 2012 where the Queens Bench reached the finality of the issue.  The court ordered their extradition and commented negatively about the great delay caused due to loopholes in the system. Sir John Thomas said, “All of these claimants have long ago exhausted the [legal] procedures in the UK. There's an overwhelming public interest in the proper functioning of the extradition arrangements in the US. It's important to recognize the finality of these proceedings.” After this decision, there have been some requests to amend the extradition law so as to accommodate and minimize such delays.


In June 2010, a thematic review was released by the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons analyzing the increasing number of Muslim prisoners, the reasons and the perspective of those prisoners and their families (the review can be accessed at:  

http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmipris/thematic-reports-and-research-publications/Muslim_prisoners_2010_rps.pdf). Folks of the five claimants continue to fight for justice and claim that they should be acquitted of all charges on account of being false. Ashfaq Ahmad, father of one of the claimants, said, "After over 40 years of paying taxes in this country, I am appalled that the system has let me down in a manner more befitting of a third world country than one of the world's oldest democracies.”